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WASHINGTON — A new congressional caucus will look for ways to educate the public and members of Congress on how to reduce the country’s healthcare costs with affordable medicines.
Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., will serve as chairwoman and chairman for the Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus, whose formation was announced Thursday.
The Generic Pharmaceuticals Association, the main lobby for the generic drug industry, expressed support for the new caucus and its goals, which include increasing generic drug utilization in Medicare and Medicaid and ensuring that the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Generic Drugs has enough resources.
The GPhA said Medicare and Medicaid didn’t do enough to take advantage of generic drugs, and according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase in generic utilization of 2% by Medicaid would save the program more than $1.3 billion, while a 5% increase would save it nearly $3.4 billion. At the same time, the Office of Generic Drugs has a backlog of more than 2,000 approval applications for generic drugs, including as many as 365 new generic versions of branded drugs.